Very Good + in Very Good + jacket. Small 8vo. Signed by Author Black boards, gilt lettering. Dustjacket clean & bright. Inscribed on front endpaper by both authors "To June & Gene-Bing's book is simply De-vine! Tom Wheatley, Bing Devine" Also signed on page 69 by former ball player Ed Mickelson who is featured in Devines tale on this page. Illustrations, 184 pp. Text clean & tight.
Only the most rabid redbird fans would really find this volume fascinating. While Bing was apparently well liked by all &, apparently, preferred by most, the circumstances surrounding his two different stints w/StL are somewhat murky. Quick to take credit for the acquisition of Lou Brock as the much needed piece to the 1964 Cardinal world championship puzzle, he doesn't really seem to remember that the major motivation behind the one-sided trade may have been management's desire to get nightlife-loving, sore-armed Ernie Broglio out of town. The Cardinals have always denied any knowledge of the top of their rotation starting RHP as anything approaching "damaged goods". It was Bob Howsman's acquisitions of Orlando Cepeda & Roger Maris that made the Cards back-to-back NL pennant winners in 1967-68. While Devine remembers that he was "forced" by ownership to trade LHPs Steve Carlton & Larry Jaster, the master GM seems less certain about his responsibility for the departures of key ingredients Curt Flood, Tim McCarver & Orlando Cepeda. While Flood's subsequent legal battle kept him out of baseball at what was surely the peak of his career (making it hard to certify how much he might have contributed had he not had to sit out), the latter two continued to contribute to other teams for a number of years afterward as St. Louis became an also-ran in the 1970s. Der Bingle here is at least classy enough not to trash Branch Rickey to the extent that he might have. There seems to be little doubt that the Mahatma was well past his prime when he returned to St. Louis after his pilgrimmage through Brooklyn & Pittsburgh, unable to wisely wield the clout that he had previously had in creating the minor league system and perforating the color barrier. But it is worth reading a story about an exec who enjoyed success in varying professional sports.
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